I read and hear everywhere that the NHL is terrible compared to its glory days, that stifling defense is choking the life out of the game, how it's on the brink on financial Armageddon, etc. All of this may be true but maybe it would help to inject a bit of drama to the League, WWE-style. So, direct from my twisted mind, I present the following. At the end of next season, just before the playoffs begin, Hasek is being interviewed after a game and someone asks him about the upcoming playoffs. Haseks says he looks forward to defending "his" Stanley Cup. The reporter, stunned, says "Excuse me?" Hasek goes on to say since he retired, it meant he never missed the playoffs or was eliminated in the playoffs, so he is still the defending Champion. The reporter says but what about New Jersey? Hasek replies the only reason they won is because he wasn't around to stop them. He boasts he's a proven winner and that's why the Red Wings got rid of that loser, CuJo. Finally, he says that when (not if) he retains "his" title, they'll change Detroit's nickname from Hockeytown to Hasektown. Now, "The Dominator" would be a big-time heel. Ideally, Detroit would make the Finals against either New Jersey or CuJo's new team (assuming he gets traded to a team in the East) whereupon the commentators could refer to Hasek/Brodeur or Hasek/CuJo as a "cage" match. It would work best, of course, if the NHL was sold to Vince McMahon. That way, to replace the King Of The Ring, he could change the name of The Stanley Cup to the Lords Of The Boards. Of course, he might also want to change the name from NHL to XHL so hmmm...It goes without saying that the Stanley Cup would be replaced by title belts for everyone. Well, I know this would never happen but wouldn't it be funny if it did?
PS: I can already see the big drawback of this idea, though. There's nothing wrong with making CuJo a sympathetic babyface but Hasek's promo would also turn the Devils face as well. It might not be the best thing for the League for the neutral-zone trap to be used by the babyface team. Oh well. They could always do the job in the best-of-7 falls Finals match.
Other ideas I've come up with for this scenario. Bring back PG-13 to lead the Red Wings to the ice, preferably down through the stands. "Listen to what we're saying; it's for real, not playing; Hasek is the man so hit your knees and start praying." Or, given the way Hasek tends net "....Hasek is the man so he'll hit his knees and start playing." As his nickname is "The Dominator", the Red Wings would be renamed the Nation Of Domination and would come out to the Faarooq-era Nation theme. I suppose you could make parallels between Hasek/CuJo and Rocky Maivia/Faarooq too. The Stanley Cup would be renamed the NHL Tag Team Championships. After all, changing on the fly is somewhat akin to a hot tag. When fights break out, you could say things are BONZO GONZO. Insteand of losing in sudden-death overtime, you would do the job in the deciding fall. Ok, I'll stop now before I devolve even further into self-parody.
The NHL Schedule (nhl.com) was released today. Season starts on October 4 with the Sabres at the Canes - the Sens at the Leafs and the Stars at the Avs. My New York Rangers open at home on Octber 5 against the Caps.